Amos Miller Case Takes Ominous Turn
A USDA investigation of Pennsylvania farmer Amos Miller’s meat production practices has taken an ominous turn in recent days, apparently morphing into a national dragnet to collect the food purchase records of thousands of food club members around the country.
I have posted a number of reports on an investigation by the Food Safety and Inspection Office (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which issued subpoenas last spring for information from Amos Miller, supposedly based on a report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in March tying milk from Miller’s farm to a death in Florida and a serious illness in California. When Miller refused to cooperate, citing his non-public operation, the USDA went to federal court, and obtained an order that Miller allow federal agents in to conduct “inspections” of his farm.
Those “inspections” over the summer turned into demands for members’ food purchase records, which Miller declined to provide, citing contractual requirements that he keep member information private. Most recently, the USDA has sought to hold Miller in contempt of court, and a hearing is scheduled on the contempt request November 1, in Easton, Pennsylvania.
While Miller and the thousands of food club members who have been following his problems have assumed that the USDA/FSIS investigation stemmed from the CDC report, it turns out that a second group within USDA–its National Organic Program (NOP), which sets standards for “organic” labeling—launched an investigation of a Miller-affiliated food club in North Carolina beginning in March 2015, well before the CDC issued its raw milk report. This USDA office issued a subpoena for information from the coordinator of that club, Jacob Williams, who works as an IT director of a private company, and volunteers as the club’s coordinator, taking orders and helping distribute the food. The NC group has more than 1,100 members.
What did the USDA/NOP want from Williams? Surprise—it sought all the club’s food purchase records going back to 2012.
Read the full article at davidgumpert.com.